Crim pulls out unexpected win in Strike King co-angler competition - Major League Fishing

Crim pulls out unexpected win in Strike King co-angler competition

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Tanner Crim came from more than 10 pounds behind the leader on the final day to win the Strike King co-angler competition on Toledo Bend. Angler: Tanner Crim.
March 28, 2024 • Mitchell Forde • Toyota Series

MANY, La. – As recently as a week ago, Tanner Crim had no plans to compete in the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Southwestern Division event on Toledo Bend. Crim, who lives near San Antonio but spends quite a bit of time in East Texas for his work in the oil field, competes in local tournaments on a regular basis, but he’d never fished an MLF event as a non-boater.

Late last week, though, a text arrived from Marshall Hughes asking him if he’d be interested in competing as a Strike King co-angler. Hughes wanted to enter the Toledo Bend event on the boater side, but another co-angler entrant was necessary for him to get a spot. So, he hit up his friend and former teammate at Tarleton State University, hoping he’d be willing to try his luck from the back of the boat. 

“I called my wife and told her, ‘Hey, I know you’re going to be mad, but it’s Toledo Bend, Marshall needs a link,’” Crim said. “‘So, I think I’m going to sign up, and I’ll just not pre-fish, I’ll just drive up and get there the day of the tournament.’” 

Crim registered for the event Friday and arrived at Toledo Bend Monday night. By Thursday afternoon, after totaling 27 pounds, 7 ounces across the three-day event, he found himself holding a trophy and a certificate for a new Phoenix worth $33,500. 

Even as recently as Thursday morning, a win for Crim seemed unlikely. Crim had gotten off to a strong start, taking the Day 1 lead with 11-13 by dragging a morning dawn finesse worm on a drop-shot (“the back-of-the-boat special,” he called it). But, illustrating the volatility inherent in fishing as a co-angler, he didn’t catch a keeper on Day 2, as pro winner Tater Reynolds targeted specific offshore spots. 

That put Crim in 12th place and more than 10 pounds behind Luke Wyle entering the final day. However, when he saw that he’d be in the boat with Russell Cecil, he figured he’d be fishing shallow and have a chance to make up ground.  

“I knew how Russell fished, just from fishing so many other tournaments around him,” Crim explained. “I knew he was going to be shallow, more than likely around grass. So, I felt like it was possible, there was a possibility of it happening.” 

Indeed, by 9 a.m., he’d already put a pair of 5-pounders in the livewell, effectively eliminating his deficit. 

“I caught the two 5s kind of first thing, and me and Russell kind of looked at each other, and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s going to get me even,’” Crim said. “’Anything here, they’re going to have to catch ‘em.’” 

Fishing a shallow drain leading into a flat, Crim took advantage of a morning shad spawn. Both of the 5-pounders ate a ChatterBait. He then added three more keepers on a weightless soft-plastic jerkbait. At that point, he knew he had a legitimate chance to win. 

“I said, ‘They better catch ‘em,’” Crim said. “And (Cecil) said, ‘Man, I think you’ve got this won.’ And so once that happened, it was kind of a gut feeling that it was a great possibility.” 

It turned out not to be particularly close, as Crim topped Wyle by 2-11. The unexpected nature of the victory made it particularly memorable. 

“It means a lot,” he said. “I’m grateful. I mean, front of the boat, back of the boat, a win is always good. It’s a really good feeling.” 

Top 10 Co-anglers: 

  1. Tanner Crim – 27-7 (10) – $33,500
  2. Luke Wyle – 24-12 (11) – $4,114
  3. Leavitt Hamilton – 22-9 (11) – $3,291
  4. Sakae Ushio – 21-12 (8) – $2,880
  5. Robert Davis – 21-8 (8) – $2,468
  6. William Easley – 21-4 (11) – $2,057
  7. Korby Friday – 19-10 (8) – $1,646
  8. Errol Sigue – 19-6 (9) – $1,440
  9. Alejandro Rodriguez – 18-11 (9) – $1,234
  10. Justin Overstreet – 18-4 (8) – $1,029

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